A week of sunshine and the butcher bird

Yes, a week of sunshine after a days and weeks of rain in our valley. Suddenly a renewed energy has transformed our activities and from the hopelessness of being inside and not being able to go out in the garden, here we are working like bees on the new nectar.

The birds are also out in force and demanding food, I am talking about the butcher bird. This one lives here. Bird in residence. He comes in, sits on the sofa, looks around and starts singing…Singing? I just wonder. I truly thinks that the is begging for food. So I reach for the fridge door and get him a little minced beef. He knows what I am doing. He follows all my gestures and mouvements. He is on the look out for my next gesture. Will I throw him the bit or will he take it out?

After a second of reflexion I decide to throw it and he catches it on the wing. Then settles on the sofa, drops it on the edge and starts to nibble . He forms little balls so that he can swallow them, tear it a little more. But as he does that the meat flies everywhere…on the carpet, on the other side of the sofa and on the wooden floor. But there is one little problem. When it lands on the floor, the dog is watching. He looks at the bit on the floor and pauses for a few seconds before deciding if it safe. Hesitation? Fluttering? He looks again sideways to gage if it might be within his range to grab and quickly fly away from the dog. One seconde later, he dives on the floor and low and behold he eats right there. Cutting the piece with his beak, and when he does this there are bits splattered everywhere. But that does not bother him as he hops from one to other picking it sideways and swallowing them. And at the same time of course watching the dog in it slightest move. But the dog does not move. All is safe.Though the dog eyes him in a funny sideway look. “how come he is getting a bit and not me” surely does he think.

The butcher bird, hops across the sofa to an other side, sits there as if to enjoy the company and the inside of his newly found little place. If friends drop in for a bite or a cup of coffee, “butchie” as he is nicknamed flies in and sit on the edge of the sofa or the wooden table soaking in the atmosphere of the chatter and clinking of cups. He stays there for minutes at a time. Just resting. A sofa is softer than a branch of a tree, has he already learned the soft comfort of a plush sofa?

But it does not stop there at all. Come 5 o’clock he rushes towards the backdoor and perches on the top.It does swing from side to side. Why this hour? the answer is very simple it is the time of feeding the dog. He knows that there would be some extra for him. And everyday the same scene re-occurs, punctual. Does he hear the noise of the dog’s bowl?Maybe? does he have a time in his memory that more food is coming his way? Maybe? But,  he certainly knows that he will be getting more.

This morning the smell of the bbq spare ribs brought in a family of magpies. Will they stay around for food also?

Now, did I tame and trained this little creature or has it trained me and tame me? Relationship is a two way channel that is for sure.

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